Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in the world by JSTOR. Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial purposes. Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early- journal-content . JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. THE SEAL OF THE COLUMBIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY. By ELIZABETH BRYANT JOHNSTON. (Read before the Society November 10, 1902.) The model of the seal adopted by the Columbia Historical Society has been in existence fourscore years and is recognized as one of, if not the most ex- quisite work of art, adorning the national capital. It is the Franzoni clock or Clio, the Muse of History. In the spring of 1894, Dr. Toner, our much-lamented president, took this society to his hospitable home where we met until he was so silently summoned to enter into rest. At the first board meeting of that fall, at my suggestion, a committee was appointed to design a seal to be used by the society. The president selected for this committee, of which I was made chair- man, Dr. Marcus Baker and Dr. Swan M. Burnett, Dr. Toner of course being a member ex-officio. Before the " Committee on the Seal" I strenuously urged the adop- tion of an engraving of the marble clock above the north door of the Hall of Statuary— old Hall of Kep- resentatives— claiming this significant and classic cre- ation as our special right, inasmuch as we are pledged to the service of the Muse of History. The committee agreed with me, but we found such determined opposi- tion from the president that we did not for the time being urge action. Dr. Toner said he thought it would be too common, as he had seen it used as an advertise- ment. To this I replied I had seen, quite recently, Murillo's divine "Annunciation" on a circus wagon, 214 COL. HIST. SOC, VOL. VI, PL. XIII. CARIvO Franzoni. Born at Carrara, Italy, about 1785. Died at Washington City, 1833. From a portrait by Bonani (1818), in possession of Dr. Chas. W. Franzoni. Johnston: The Seal of the Society. 215 and "The Chocolate Girl" on a bottle of quack medi- cine. However, we soon discovered that the real objec- tion to the clock was the determination to use for our seal the figure of Columbus standing on the globe, a quaint statuette of bronze which Dr. Toner had found in his unceasing quest for the antique and the beautiful. I hoped to have had that little figure to show you to- night, but it is at present unattainable, being in the Toner collection at the Library of Congress. It would have given pleasure to gratify the president, but really Columbus was impossible. There were several meet- ings of the committee with report of " Progress' ' for which false statement conscience had to be salved, for in truth we never moved an inch. All who knew Dr. Toner recognized that one of his strongest and finest traits was a quiet resistance un- til opposition weakened and his desire was achieved. As his judgment was sound and guided by truth as well as sentiment, this very characteristic was the force which made him a benefactor and such a fine citizen. When the attention of President Kasson was directed to this committee of long standing, he reinforced it by adding Mr. Justice Hagner. We soon agreed and put a photograph of the Franzoni clock in the hands of the Neale Engraving Company with an eminently satisfac- tory result. The seal was accepted by the society and we assuredly realize "a thing of beauty is a joy for- ever." We claim that as seal and insignia it is com- prehensive and significant. The wheel to the car of time presents the dial of the clock and the calm figure impartially inscribes passing events. It charms with its happy symbolism and in the fact that this clock was created here, in the very heart of the nation ; there- fore, by right of heritage, it belongs to the "Columbia Historical Society,'' which, with reverential purpose, 216 Records of the Columbia Historical Society, has assumed the pious duty of guarding local history. Yet, I am not entirely satisfied. This seal should be more generally known, exhibited on all our cards, in- vitations, not alone on receipts and the title page of our Annual Eecords, used not as an advertisement, but as an introduction, until the citizens of the District realize that they have^ a right to it, and unite with us in preserving history, which, though made here, is not without interest to the entire- country. Naturally, we wish to establish the history of this clock. That is difficult. As early as 1805, it is said, at the suggestion of Benjamin Latrobe and with the approval of Mr. Jefferson, this government engaged several Italian artists to decorate the capitol at Wash- ington, chief of whom was Griuseppi Franzoni, sculptor, friend and compatriot of Canova. He was a brilliant artist of the Canova school. Franzoni brought to America a lovely wife of fifteen, who left with her parents a little daughter of three months. He was ac- companied by artists in other lines, painters, engravers, modellers, carvers, etc., and he brought also a retinue of servants. Antoine Canova was the first choice, but he was en- gaged in his splendid work for the Duke of Tuscany, so his relative, Franzoni, accepted the proposal. These children of the sun had a dread, which in many cases seems to have been prophetic, of our inhospitable cli- mate. Though few of them returned to their native shores, the last penny of contract was exacted, which provided return money for each individual, and whether they died here or returned to Italy— the claim was al- lowed "to close contract with the United States." It is rather amusing to read in Congressional Records of "return money" being allowed for people who had for years rested in American cemeteries. They were not Johnston : The Seal of the Society. 217 allowed extravagant remuneration, the largest sum never reaching five dollars per day. Though Fran- zoni was a sculptor of established reputation in the art world of Florence, he received this niggardly sum. It is, therefore, a matter of congratulation that these claims were approved. They worked together for eight years. New arrivals were added and they formed* a happy colony, absorbing American ideas and in return educating our citizens. They were truly valuable, worthy citizens and their children's children dwell among us to-day. Franzoni took or built a comfortable house on Capitol Hill, 120 B Street S. E.; there he lived, his children were born, and there, early in 1851, he died. This dwelling within or remembrance has been removed to make way for our magnificent palace of books. Franzoni was an accomplished gentleman, accus- tomed to cultivated society. He was congenial, and soon became intimate with Mr. Jefferson, dining at the executive mansion every Sunday during the admin- istration of the sage of Monticello. One of his grand- daughters has handsome pieces of silver presented to him by President Jefferson. These artists worked earnestly in the important task they had undertaken, modelling, chiselling, carving, painting, until transformation and beauty glowed be- neath their magical touch. We assume they wrought with enthusiasm. It is an attribute of their warm blood and an element in the power to create. They were surely not of this age, for they wrote no canons of art from their special point of view ; left no written record of their achievements. I wish they had, for then their lines would not have been so difficult to study. In looking over the files of the papers of the times, espe- cially the National Intelligencer, it is surprising that 218 Records of the Columbia Historical Society. such art creations as were in the old capitol should not receive even a passing mention. Alas, the Wash- ington letter writer had not appeared on the theater of journalism, consequently there is dearth of light on that phase of our history. Webster, Clay, Preston and several others gave assurance of their appreciation. John Quincy Adams addressed the Muse thus: "Come down thou marble figure upon the floor; And write the name of each candidate for fame." Though these artists left no art homilies in print, the influence they exercised in moulding taste is ap- parent from the fact that for half a century we made no mistake in our public buildings, for example, the faultless Patent Office and the stately Treasury. What became of this eight years of artistic labor and of this large expenditure, for the Government, though judicious, had liberal ideas in regard to the decoration of our legislative halls. Ah, the sequel is a sad, sad story. Of all this beauty, all this labor, all this outlay, not even a catalogue escaped the fiendish vandalism of Admiral Cockburn on August 24, 1814. Think of the anguish of those men as they stood silent witnesses of that sacrificial pyre. Think of them as they wandered through the ruin and the ashes day after day. Some of these artists were so disheartened that they at once returned home. Franzoni never rallied from the shock, and in a few months, early in 1815, he died. The figure of liberty above the speaker's desk in the old hall is all that remains of his work. An old print of the Hall of Legislation in Mr. Glenn Brown's admirable and exhaustive book on the Capitol, shows the charred remains of a plaster model of a clock over the north door of the Hall of Eepresentatives. The figure is seated, the head turned to the west; this Johnston: The Seal of the Society. 219 was made by Giuseppi Franzoni, and the model must have been his wife. The chariot is too short to be graceful. The wheel with dial on it was in fair con- dition. In the summer of 1815 Colonel Samuel Lane, Com- missioner of Public Buildings, sent Giovanni Andrie to Italy to secure other artists. In Congressional Record of first session of twenty-fourth Congress is found the sum of compensation to each artist, and in addition says Andrie "engaged Franzoni as statuary and sculptor and Iardella, one of the inferior artists. ' ' Carlo Franzoni brought quite a household of domestics and assistants. He married and lived on Four-and-a- half Street opposite the Presbyterian Church, in a handsome house. Angel heads were carved above each window. These have been torn out to enlarge the aper- ture for business purposes. We are so determined not to preserve good things. He had elegant ideas of fur- nishing, as indicated by two carved white mantel pieces in the Supreme Court room, then the Senate chamber, which a naval officer purchased from him, and pre- sented to the Government. Like his brother, Carlo Franzoni soon succumbed to the rigor of our climate. He died in 1819, leaving a wife and several children poorly provided for. The City Directory of 1822 gives the information that Mrs. Franzoni has opened her house for boarders. These brothers were fine men physically and mentally. Carlo was six feet four inches tall. A portrait, now owned by Dr. Charles Franzoni (grandson), shows a handsome face. It was painted by Bonani and the New York Historical Society has offered a large sum for it. The Franzoni family was of gentle blood— fair with blue eyes. They came from the Cararra district and a love of marble seems to have been natural, as well as the 220 Records of the Columbia Historical Society. eye to see an imprisoned form of beauty in each block. The deaths of these two artists were grievous losses to this country. They were interred in St. Patrick's Cemetery but were removed to Oak Hill, where they both rest in the same grave. Carlo coming so soon after his brother's death, it would seem natural that he would complete his unfin- ished work. However, this is mere conjecture. From his work in the Vatican it is evident he was the finer artist of the two. There does not seem a doubt that he made the Franzoni clbck. It is not a copy of the work by Giuseppi; it is so superior. It may be con- sidered an adaptation. All controversy seems to be settled by the fact of the chariot being inscribed "C. Franzoni, 1819." It was not put in place for several years after his death. One conclusive proof of its authorship is the fact that there was no one else who could do it. The assertion that Francisco Iardella executed this rare work scarcely need be considered. If Iardella was a sculptor, he never claimed to be one, and he is in the first Washington Directory put down as "Carver at the Capitol," and Giovanni Andie as "Carver in Chief at the Capitol." Iardella no doubt put the wonderful clock in place. Carlo Franzoni was here such a short period that he produced little else save the clock. The beautiful "Justice" in the Supreme Court room (now the Law Library) was from his chisel, at least the design is his and he no doubt executed the noble figure of the woman, but the youth inscribing the Constitution, shows the 'prentice hand and was doubtless completed after his death. He also modelled and executed the corn pillars in the east vestible and lower entrance to the Capitol. One of the few of his utterances preserved in the f amliy is his saying: "The thought in these columns is Mr. Jefferson's, I am only his interpreter." Johnston: The Seal of the Society. 221 From the fact that Latrobe had these columns placed, they bear his name. It will be remembered that Mrs. Tolloppe savagely said of the corn column: "It is the only original thought I met in America. ' ' The Franzoni clock is conceded to be a perfect crea- tion. The figure of the Muse is after the girlish form of Eurydice Franzoni, the daughter of Giuseppi, a woman of rare beauty and charm. She married Mr. Francis Bernard Simms and died in this city in 1871. Her children and grandchildren still reside here. It is, therefore, with no small degree of satisfaction and local pride that we send forth this seal of the Columbia Historical Society. "We send it with all the more complaisance that we know the Muse to be the counterpart of a lovely daughter of the District of Columbia.